Saturday, April 20, 2013

Attention: A Rant

Explanation: This is a little rant I wrote about receiving attention from my classmates and peers, mainly for the way I dress. 
Read on: 

Let me tell you about my own experiences with attention, wanted and unwanted. 

Our story starts off with thirteen year-old me. Pretty close to graduation, I was about to be spit out by the middle school machine, which seemed to have successfully completed the creation of another conformist and undifferentiated being. Throughout the course of middle school, I had learned there was one goal to be put above the rest, and this was to be exactly like everyone else. Why? To avoid attention, most of which would be negative. I was the perfect chameleon, or at least I tried to be. I even began to buy my clothes in only neutral colors, so that soon my wardrobe was full of blue, white, and grey, the least offensive shades I could find.

However, though I continued with the ritual conformity that seemed to be demanded of me, I knew there was something underneath my desire to be like everyone else, and this was the desire to be different. It took a long time to really discover that was it, but when I identified this feeling, it terrified me, and I tried to quash it. Unsuccessfully. It seemed that the more I fought by conforming, the unhappier I was, and I realized that this stemmed from going against my own wishes so as not to be noticed by others. 

It wasn't until sophomore of high school year that I started to finally let go and wear, do, and say more of what I wanted. These changes definitely brought attention to me. I had a rebellious streak so intense it was self-destructive at some points, and people definitely noticed. Strangely, though, I seemed to get positive reactions much more often than negative ones. For every sideways sneer or double take that I received while wearing a pair of black ripped jeans, there were at least a dozen people who approached me saying things like "I love your outfit, I could never pull that off!".

To a self-conscious fifteen year-old, both reactions were unnerving. I was just as embarrassed by compliments as I was by insults. This was because I was so down on myself that I lacked the self-esteem to ever believe compliments. I was predisposed to believe that these people were lying, or making fun of me. Somehow, though, I managed to convince myself that maybe they were not lying, and that these people genuinely appreciated how I looked. In a gradual evolution that lasted from age fifteen to age seventeen, I finally began dressing exactly how I wanted. At first, I hated compliments and attention from others, but then I grew to depend on them. Now I find myself able to function without them easily, knowing that I look good without needing anyone to tell me so. 

This is not to say that I no longer attract any attention. If anything, I attract more glances and gazes from my classmates than ever. My thirteen year-old self would have cringed and slumped down in her seat, but when this happens to the seventeen year-old me, I only think one thing: Let them stare. 

In conclusion, attention is something that takes a certain degree of self-confidence to be comfortable with, but once you have that, it can be awesome. If you want to turn heads when you walk down the hallways, go for it! You got it, babe!

1 comment:

  1. This is very well written! I love your style, Madeleine! People who make snide remarks or stares are the ones who only wear like yoga pants from Victoria's Secret with Uggs all the time... like PLEASE as if they should be the ones talking when they're technically prouncing around in sweats everyday? xD


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